The Land and Water Conservation Fund

We would love to see the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanently funded. Click here to send your voice to Congress.

One of the most important public parks programs — the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) — is getting closer to its expiration date on September 30. Without this program, public green spaces across the country will suffer. 

Created just over 50 years ago, LWCF has been one of our nation’s most successful conservation programs, creating outdoor recreation opportunities in every state and virtually every county in the nation. LWCF has helped protect our land from national park expansions in the Grand Canyon to urban ball fields in communities across the country to preserving cultural and historical sites.

LWCF especially helps support new parks in our communities that need it the most.

  • The Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program (ORLP) – funded through the LWCF State and Local Assistance Program – is a competitive grant program that helps communities in urban areas  by supporting projects and expanding access to green spaces to low income communities and communities of color.
  • ORLP creates new outdoor recreation spaces, reinvigorates existing parks, and forms connections between people and the outdoors.
  • City parks are an essential component to attracting and retaining a robust workforce and investments, and they promote active and healthy outdoor lifestyles. For many diverse urban communities, city parks are sometimes the only means to easily access the outdoors.
  • Diverting funds or allowing the program to expire jeopardizes the resources to benefit communities who generally enjoy fewer outdoor spaces in their cities or neighborhoods.
  • A CAP and Conservation Science Partners study found that communities of color and low income communities in the West, in primarily urban areas, have less open space and natural areas than the overall population of their states. LWCF funding may help rectify these disparities by providing new green spaces.
  • ORLP is the only federal program focused exclusively on supporting parks and outdoor recreation in cities.
  • LWCF helps protect our nation’s historic and cultural sites.
  • Our communities nationwide would greatly benefit from authorization and funding of LWCF. Together, our nation’s outdoor recreation, conservation, and preservation economies contribute over $1 trillion to the nation’s economy and support over 9 million jobs – we should continue to invest in our outdoors, not put it at risk with allowing this program to expire.

    Even though there is this widespread bipartisan support, opponents of public lands are stopping these bills from moving forward.

    In order to get these bills across the finish line and prevent our nation’s best parks program from expiring, we need members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers to call on House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and demand a vote on legislation to permanently reauthorize LWCF before the September expiration deadline.

 

Resources for finding LWCF funded sites

This site has state-specific factsheets where you can see lists of LWCF-funded federal projects (national parks/forests/refuges/etc): https://www.lwcfcoalition.com/tools/

And this site has the full list of LWCF-funded sites (both the federal projects and the state and local parks): https://wilderness.org/mapping-land-and-water-conservation-fund-lwcf

  • Here’s how to navigate it:
    • Zoom into the map and click on a county you want
    • Then in the window that pops up, click on “County LWCF Project List”
    • Then find the 3 dots at the bottom of the window that appears. Click on that and click on “View in Attribute Table”
    • The list of LWCF-funded sites in that county will appear in the table below the map